Some of you may have subscribed to Mantic's newsletter, and in that case you already have the Beta rules for their new Sci-Fi miniatures game Warpath (that is, if you were lucky enough for your beta test application NOT to get lost on their server). For those of you that haven't subscribed (or haven't gotten the invitation email yet like myself), you can download them for free right now at www.manticgames.com/sci-fi.html.
Mantic Games is most widely known for their Kings of War miniatures, typically their Dwarfs, Undead, and Orcs (which when combined with their fantasy game's rules set available here, is a direct competitor with Games Workshop's Warhammer Fantasy). However, they've decided to step into the world of Sci-Fi miniatures games to compete with Warhammer 40k.
So far, they only have their Marauders and Forge Fathers written up in PDF format to use with the beta rules, but that should be enough to give people a rough idea of how they want their game to play. The only problems I've heard of so far are base-size issues considering they don't list them in the beta army lists, but I'm sure two friends looking to have fun with a trial rules set could figure something out fairly easily.
Overall, after seeing some of the concept art for Warpath, I'm really looking forward to seeing some of the minis produced in plastic. I think this game could easily steal a lot of GW's market share if they focus on four major aspects of this hobby:
- Ensure the rulebook is plainly laid-out. Nobody wants to spend half an hour flipping pages to find a simple rule. Better written rules also means fewer errata and FAQ documents.
- Play-test the rules and armies. "Power creep" is not unavoidable. Units can be powerful but they should be balanced by cost, speed, or even numbers.
- Cheap miniatures means it's easier for gamers to increase the size of their armies, and new players will be able to afford new armies.
- Though the miniatures should be reasonably priced, that doesn't mean it's acceptable to skimp on quality. If people don't like the minis or material, they simply won't buy it.
SO MANY PEOPLE were upset with the 5th Edition of Warhammer 40k, and even more were absolutely pissed off over the weekend project called "Codex: Chaos Space Marines". BOTH of these were written by one specific individual (though he did admittedly have help), and his name is Alessio Cavatore. Guess who has written the core rules for Kings of War, and now Warpath?
Is that enough to turn you away from the game? Should we play-test the beta rules and find out for ourselves?